A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
November 26, 2007 Israeli and Palestinian Delegations Meet with Bush
The planes are landing in Washington, each one carrying a different delegation to the Annapolis Conference. The Bush administration is very satisfied with the response. Most of the members of the Arab League are attending, with almost all sending their Foreign Ministers. Syria officially announced that it will be attending as well, with its Deputy Foreign Minister attending. There are conflicting opinions on whether a joint statement will be issued between Israel and the Palestinians. On the plane, Minister of Foreign Affairs Livni told Israeli reporters that she believed the gap between Israel and the Palestinians would be closed and an agreement would be reached. She is meeting tonight with her Palestinian counterpart to accomplish that goal. The Palestinians, on the other hand, claim there is no chance for a joint statement emerging. Is that a negotiating ploy?
Everyone seems satisfied that Syria has decided to attend. Prime Minister Olmert believes this is a major opportunity to break apart Syria and Iran. It seems like America followed Israelís request and wooed the Syrians to attend. The commander of the US Central Command, Admiral William J. Fallon, stated last week that the Syrians have become more helpful in controlling their border.
So where does this leave things? I can quote Yaron London, who at the opening of his show tonight questioned how it can be that in this time of open media we know so little of what is going on. I am not sure anyone does know, including the participants. Never has the need for progress on the peace front been so great and never has the dangers of it been so strong. On one hand the only realistic way to stop the spread of Hamas is to make progress on the diplomatic front, on the other hand the very rise of Hamas underscores the great dangers in reaching any accord that would require further withdrawals. Similarly, the same is the case on the Syrian front. Only diplomatic progress that would eventually require the withdrawal from the Golan Heights can pry the Syrians clear of Iran and make them cut their ties with Hezbollah. But it is those very ties that make entering into any agreement so dangerous.